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Choice Neighborhoods

Choice Neighborhoods FAQ Updated

Updated as of 10/21. Go here.

Choice Neighborhoods Needs Peer Reviewers

If you are interested and have no conflicts of interest, go here. [Update: While we originally posted this notice on the blog in September, it was also included in an email sent October 7, which happens to be the semi-deadline. Our apologies. Check the notice for more information.]

According to the description:

Non-Federal peer reviewers may be professionals with expertise in housing development, community development (especially mixed-income, mixed-use), urban planning, social service planning and coordination, or other relevant areas (e.g., practitioners [planners, developers, architects, etc.], consultants, researchers, college or university educators, evaluators, etc.) The selected reviewers should have professional experience related to the three core goals of Choice Neighborhoods – Housing, People, and Neighborhoods – and demonstrable expertise in at least one of the three goals.

HUD Releases Choice Neighborhoods FAQ

HUD has released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. It can be found here.

Two questions related to Promise Neighborhoods are below.

Q21. Does Choice Neighborhoods require housing to be in a Promise Neighborhood?

A21. Communities will not be required to have a Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods grant in order to receive a Choice Neighborhoods grant , nor vice versa. However, state and local school and social service systems serving children in a neighborhood are encouraged to coordinate efforts to participate in both grant programs. HUD and the Department of Education intend to use consistent results frameworks and outcomes, so that communities are not being asked to form inconsistent plans that don’t mesh well together. In addition, both programs will emphasize similar traits which are necessary for successful neighborhood revitalization: strong, collaborative partnerships; full participation from community members in community planning; and a focus on the barriers that inhibit children from succeeding.

Q22. Why is the link to education so important in Choice Neighborhoods?

A22. Education is a means to improving the quality of life for neighborhood residents. Over and over again strong schools have proven to be vital not only in providing genuine opportunity to neighborhood children, but as the backbone for long-term, economically viable neighborhood transformation.

News of this FAQ posting was sent to our Choice Neighborhoods email list, which is open to anyone who is interested.

White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Details Revealed

Little noticed in today's big announcement on Promise Neighborhoods was a rather detailed new fact sheet on the administration's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI).

According to the fact sheet, the initiative is "led by the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC), White House Office of Urban Affairs (WHOUA), and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Education (ED), Justice (DOJ), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury."

We have written about this initiative before many times, though there was a lot of tea leaf reading involved. Now we have lots of details. Incidentally, I got to meet a few of the principals in this group at the event today. I kind of feel like I deserve honorary membership! Although I am a little nervous about the ritual hazing -- I have a feeling it involves long meetings and a tolerance for bureaucracy.

Some interesting new details in the fact sheet include a new, fifth program in the neighborhood initiatives bucket. We have Promise and Choice, of course, and also the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant program in DOJ (we interviewed Thomas Abt on this recently). We also have two programs out of HHS, including Community Health Centers and a brand new one, Behavioral Health Services.

The NRI plans to host a convening on neighborhood revitalization in 2011 "to unite practitioners and policymakers in a shared effort to improve our nation’s distressed communities."  Very cool.

The last three pages explain plans for how the first three (Promise, Choice, and Byrne) will interact with each other, which to me is required reading for today's Promise grantees but also anyone who wants to apply for any of these programs in the future.

Choice Neighborhoods Notice of Intent to Apply

Did you think we had forgotten about Choice Neighborhoods? No, although HUD hasn't been quite as active as the Department of Education was during the Promise Neighborhoods grant period. No FAQs, no kerfuffles. Quite boring, really. (smile)

But apparently they are asking those who are interested to voluntarily notify them of their intent to apply. According to text posted to the HUD web site late last week:

HUD requests notification from eligible applicants of their intent to submit a Choice Neighborhoods Planning or Implementation Grant application.  Responding to this request is voluntary and not binding.  HUD is requesting this information in order to effectively plan its application review process and to ensure timely decision making.  Please contact HUD's NOFA Information Center at (800) 483-8929 (tollfree) by October 7, 2010 in order to indicate your intent to apply.  Additional details are in the attached document.

Since HUD isn't giving us much to work with, some of you Choicers should toss me your questions, thoughts, advice, resources, etc. If I get some, I will post them anonymously (or not, if you let me give you credit) here on the blog. Also, don't forget that we have a Choice Neighborhoods email list for updates, should they occur.


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by Dr. Radut